Urban ecology…right here on campus! May 28, 2010Posted by Dr. O in Behavior, Biology, Ecology, Environment/Conservation.
So this is our resident, young, red-tailed hawk…
(Please click on pictures for better resolution)
This young red-tailed hawk enjoys a very urban lifestyle on Marian University’s campus. I have watched this bird pick off fat, almost tame, squirrels as they exit a garbage can with the crust of a Subway sandwich. The hawk will narrowly, but deftly, miss flying into people’s heads as it goes in for the kill.
Today I arrived on campus, pulled into my parking spot, opened the door, and heard a ruckus of robins.
When I looked, I saw said hawk and thought, “hmm…guess the robins don’t like it roosting there”, but then when I looked closer, I realized that the hawk was IN THEIR NEST! As my jaw dropped the hawk took off with two fistfuls of nestling robins. The hawk flew to the nearest tree (where it perches above previously mentioned garbage can/squirrel haunt) and picked apart its breakfast. Amazing!
Red-tailed hawks don’t eat birds (usually), not small birds.
The hawk must’ve been watching and knew where this nest was. It’s not like it went after a fledgling not able to fly…it went INTO the nest to grab them! And the nest was fairly hidden! I think this is incredible urban behavior in a predator; not afraid of people, and exploring novel food items.
Here are two videos of the hawk eating the nestlings and of the adult robins guarding their, now empty, nest:
Here is a collection of play-by-play photos of the event: